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Russia 77, Ukraine 63, United States 15, Us 13, Europe 10, U.s. 9, U.n. 8, Georgia 7, Vladimir Putin 6, Obama 6, Berlin 6, Britain 5, George W. Bush 5, Angela Merkel 4, Citi 4, Allstate 4, Nato 4, Pentagon 3, Crawford 3, Germany 3,
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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show  

    March 3, 2014
    6:00 - 7:01pm PST  

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choose the latter if i am forced between them. and this is key, it's very hard for me -- i think what julia said before is key. we have to as a first condition recognize what our limitations are as influence in how these events unfold. julia, josh, thank you both. that is all for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. this is being called the most serious crisis for europe since the fall of the berlin wall, end quote. and it's not just some hyperventilating jerk on television or some partisan calling it that, it's berlin. home of the berlin wall. it was the foreign minister from germany who said today that this is the most serious crisis since the berlin wall came down. foreign ministers of all the european union countries, including germany, met today in emergency session in brussels to try to figure out how the rest of the world is going to respond
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to what russia has just done in ukraine. when the berlin wall did fall in 1989, it started this chaotic centrifugal process by which the soviet union spun off into russia and all these new countries, all these new countries that had previously been soviet socialist republics. one of the most immediate crises to arise from that break in history was about all of the nuclear weapons of the ussr. at the time when the berlin wall came down, the united states had about 22,000 deployed nuclear weapons. for context we still have about 5,000 of them now, but then we had 22,000 of them and we think that the soviets had about the same number. and, yes, a lot of the soviets' 22,000 or so nuclear weapons at the time were in russia proper. but a lot of them were not. a lot of them were in belarus and kazakhstan and ukraine. and when belarus and kazakhstan
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and ukraine spun away from russia to become their own nations as the ussr collapsed, there was a real pressing and practical question as to who those thousands of deployed, fully operational nuclear weapons belongs to. this was not a sidebar issue at the time. it was kind of the issue. this was the headline in the "l.a. times" on december 3rd, 1991. ukraine votes to quit soviet union. more than 90% of voters approve historic break with kremlin. but then look at the subheading on the headline. president-elect calls for collective command of country's nuclear arsenal. so that was kind of the framing then. question one was are you still soviet? if the answer to question one is no, then please proceed to question two. question two is what about your nuclear weapons then? it's kind of an overlooked miracle of modern diplomacy and political strategy that belarus and ukraine and kazakhstan when they all became independent, when they became new countries, when they split off away from
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russia, they agreed to give up the nuclear weapons that were within their borders by the hundreds and by the thousands. what a different world this would be had they not made that decision, right? and it wasn't an easy decision for them to make. but they did it. and in fact it was 20 years ago this week that ukraine put the first 60 nuclear warheads from its intercontinental missiles on a train and sent that train from ukraine back to russia where the warheads got decommissioned. by that summer they had shipped triple that number of warheads. by two years later, the ukrainian president declared the nation of ukraine to be nuclear weapons free. and even though the country where chernobyl happened, ukraine, happened to -- they had to have been happy at a very deep level to be rid of all that nuclear liability, all those thousands of nuclear weapons stationed throughout that very big and at that point very young
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country must have been a scary thing, but particularly in a place that had had that horrible nuclear accident. even with that, it doesn't mean it was an altogether easy decision. it was years of negotiations as to what was going to happen with all those nukes. at one point the leader of ukraine cancelled the deal. he said ukraine was going to keep all its former soviet nuclear weapons. ultimately, though, they decided to let them go. they decided to let them all go in exchange for a few very practical things. first, they got paid. they got paid for the value of the highly enriched uranium that was in those nuclear warheads. second, they opened up an era of new strong relations with the west. remember, they had been part of the ussr. they are more european and western oriented than russia was going to be, but this is part of the deal that made that real. because of that deal, the u.s. and ukraine started a strong bilateral relationship that exists to this day. our country and ukraine have a very close relationship. ukraine also started a partnership with nato at the
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time, even though they didn't formally join nato. they started a formal partnership with the north american treaty alliance. when they got rid of their nuclear weapons, they opened economic, diplomatic and political ties with europe and with the western world. that was part of the deal. but in military terms, they got something really, really specific. this is the military deal they signed in december, 1994. they call it the budapest memorandum. and it is a formal agreement signed by ukraine and russia and us and great britain. and it says essentially because you, ukraine, have so kindly agreed to get rid of all those nuclear weapons that the soviets left behind, we agree to leave you alone to be your own country. the budapest memorandum is kind of amazing. it's a very short agreement. and the wording is very much to the point. look at this. welcoming the asession of ukraine to the treaty on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons as a nonnuclear weapons state, taking into account the
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commitment to eliminate all nuclear weapons in its territory, noting the changes in the worldwide security situation including the end of the cold war, we here by confirm the following. including this commitment. to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of ukraine, to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of ukraine. we signed this in 1994 along with great britain and ukraine and russia. that was the deal. you give up your nukes, they had thousands of nuclear weapons. they had more nuclear weapons than china and france and britain combined. you give up your thousands of nuclear weapons, you get to be your own country and everybody is going to respect your borders. that was the deal. we all signed on to it in 1994. it's still in effect. on friday, russia invaded ukraine. and this document from december, 1994, this is a legally binding document. it's not just some resolution of
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intent or something. this is not a feel good sort of thing. this was a formal agreement that these four nations were bound to. ukraine, russia, us and great britain. the russians are bound to it just as we are bound to it. it's technically legally binding, but how do you enforce it? yeah, you and what army. the specific part of ukraine that russia has invaded now, they now control not only all the airports, but the border checkpoints, that specific part of ukraine, it is part of ukraine. it is not part of russia, but it hasn't been that way for very long. because god is a numeralologist there are all sorts of weird coincidences here. it was 20 years ago ukraine started getting rid of its nuclear weapons. and crimea became part of ukraine. it used to be part of russia, but in 1954 the soviet leader decided decided he was going
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give crimea to ukraine kind of as a gift. he decided he would take crimea out of russia and put it in ukraine. crimea is not really geographically contiguous with either thing. but the decision about giving crimea to ukraine instead of russia, that is how it became ukrainian in the first place. it was a strange decision then. it has big consequences now. and now vladimir putin has decided to take the gift back. he's decided to take crimea back for russia. the ukrainians concede that there is nothing that they can do militarily to stop the russians. the number of troops that russia has shoved into crimea vastly outnumbers the token military force that the ukrainian government keeps there. although the ukrainian government is calling for help from the international community, they're calling for help from the united states,
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they're calling for help from the west, they're not actually calling for military help directly. nobody thinks this gets resolved with some sort of land war against russian troops. but if it's not war, what are the other options then? sanctions is the word here, right? but sanctions is not just one thing. sanctions is a whole range of options, starting with statements of disapproval and condemnation, which have been issued so far not only by the united states and by these other nations, but also by nato, today by the european union. president obama meeting tonight with his national security council, the administration reportedly considering sanctions on travel, so that would mean new bans on visas into the united states from russia for specific officials or more broadly. the treasury and the state department are expected to presenting the president ideas for that as well as plans for potentially freezing the assets of individual russian officials. plans even for freezing out the whole russian banking system, which is sort of a nuclear option in terms of economic
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sanctions. the pentagon tonight announced that the u.s. will put on hold all military to military engage maenlts between the u.s. and russia. that includes exercises and bilateral meetings and port visits and planning conferences. when there are international crises like this, when there are cross-border invasions, it's the u.n. security council that is supposed to act to resolve those matters, right? the u.n. security council met about this issue on an emergency basis on friday and they met again over the weekend and then they met again today. and although those u.n. security council meetings led to some very pushy speeches, because russia is a permanent member of the u.n. security council, they have the right to veto anything that goes through that body and so nobody expects that anything useful will actually come through the u.n. it would have to go through russia in order to go through the u.n. security council and it's not going to go through russia. there's also the matter of the g-8. the world's eight largest democratic industrial economies. this group used to be the g-7 until the late '90s when they
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decided to add russia to reflect russia's status as a real economy and a democracy and supposedly not a rogue state anymore. the next g-8 meeting was supposed to be held in sochi in russia in june, where the olympics just were. all the other nations in the g-8 including the united states have said they are no longer preparing to attend that summit. it's considered unlikely that that meeting will happen in russia at all. a lot of people are starting to raise the prospect that russia shouldn't just have had g-8 meeting cancelled, russia should be kicked out of the g-8 is this is the way they're going behave. they're not behaving in the way they were expected to behave when they were invited. and on paper, and economically, that seems like a big threat and a severe punishment for russia, kicking them out of the g-8. it is also worth asking how much vladimir putin would care about that anyway. the last time the u.s. hosted a g-8 summit was in 2012. that was the last time it was a u.s.-hosted summit for the g-8, it was a camp david. remember, they were going to do it in chicago and they moved it
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from chicago because there was also a big nato meeting there. anyway, they held it at camp david in 2012. vladimir putin didn't even attend that g-8 meeting, he said he was busy so sent his prime minister instead. that was the dpchg-8 summit wite amazing photo. this looks staged but this was actually taken at that g-8 meeting in camp david. standing of course there at the center of the photo is president obama. you can also see clearly prime minister david cameron of britain. there's chancellor angela merkel of germany. you can see stephen harper of canada, the president of france, but this guy over here in the blue shirt, that is not vladimir putin. vladimir putin that day was home washing his hair. he spent the prime minister instead. he did not care to attend the g-8 summit. kicking a nation out of the g-8 is a big deal. watching what is going on in the world right now, it does not seem reasonable to conclude,
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however, that vladimir putin much cares about the g-8. it doesn't seem reasonable to conclude that vladimir putin cares more about the g-8 than he does about ukraine. and as president putin considers to be consolidating or at least escalating his military adventure into crimea, as he considers whether or not he's going to push russian troops even further beyond crimea into other parts of ukraine, would any of the options available to not just the united states but the international community actually make a difference? would any of the options that were on the table right now be enough to push russia hard enough and indeed fast enough to make a difference now? joining us now is congresswoman marcy calfner of ohio. congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us tonight. >> thank you very much and thank you for that background. >> well, let me ask you if any of that, a, strikes you wrong. i know you spent a lot of time in ukraine. i know you are ukrainian american in terms of your
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background. what do you feel like is the most important thing for americans to understand about the context of ukrainian politics right now and our relationship with that country? >> well, i think the most important thing for any freedom-loving nation is to know that the majority of people of ukraine want to be free and they don't want to be treated like chattel from the last century. the ham-handed approach from the president of russia i think shocked the world. we had hoped that we had moved away from the 20th century into a new era. obviously this sounds like an old movie. if i could just say this, there's no place in the world that has suffered in war and famine as much as ukraine. and there is a moral responsibility for the leaders of the free world and those who wish to be free to pay attention to ukraine now and to guarantee
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her territorial integrity and her sovereignty and help move her toward a more democratic future. what russia has done is so destructive. i agree with what has been said, it is the greatest crisis since the cold war ended. and it is tragic for a country that has suffered so very, very much. most people don't know that ukraine already is the third largest exporter of grain in the world. she has such enormous potential, but it has been kept capped for generations now. i personally am of polish heritage and from what is inside ukraine, but whether you are jewish, whether you are uni catholic, whether you are ukrainian, the suffering that occurred in those borders, the west hardly knew because joseph stalin was technically an ally of the united states during world war ii and so much of the
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history was hidden. rachel, i recommend to your readers this book by dr. timothy snyder. he's from our state of ohio but a professor at yale. it is encyclopedic. it is absolutely required reading for anyone who wants to understand the why of ukraine and why it's so important to help her move into a new era. i think that the diplomatic measures that are being tried are extraordinarily important. i think the economic sanctions, and i favor those, the sooner the better should tick in and they should become tighter and tighter and tighter. and frankly, i am someone that also is waiting for the government of ukraine to make requests for assistance for military help if needed to maintain a cordon until we can settle this situation down diplomatically and try to get the russian troops to back away and to reach an agreement as
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reasonable people should. but i would say to the president of russia and to the new president of ukraine, why in god's name would you want any more bloodshed on either of your lands? >> congresswoman, when you say that you expect that there may be a request for military assistance, what kind of form do you think that would take? what do you think the united states' response should be to that sort of request if it does arise? >> well, i think that ukraine's closest neighbors are paying attention. turkey is paying attention, ukraine is a borderland to turkey. poland is paying attention. you mentioned hungary, rachel. hungary is paying attention. if you look at the -- her immediate neighbors and then expand to the ukrainian all around the world whether here in the united states, canada, argentina, italy, portugal, united kingdom, if you look
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around the world, there are more people who are of ukrainian heritage living outside ukraine than inside ukraine. and that is because of the sheer terror, the great terror that characterized life there for so many generations, since the revolution actually. the same is true with russia. i would say to the president of russia and to the president of ukraine, you know what, your young people are leaving your countries. how are you going to have a great nation as it depopulates? they're seeking to get out because life isn't good. and it's incumbent upon you to settle things down. i think russia's action raised the ire of every freedom-loving person around the world. and i have spent time in russia, i have spent time with russian leaders, with their ambassadors, and what a sad day for the world. >> congresswoman marcy kaptur of ohio, thank you very much for your time tonight. you're considered to be a real expert on this area in the world in congress as a long-standing
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member of congress and your focus on these issues shines in times like this. thank you, ma'am. it's nice to have you here. >> thank you. naturally, secretary of state john kerry had some very strong words about the crisis, although somewhere along the way secretary kerry talked himself waist deep into a swamp of irony today. that story is coming up. stay with us. cut! [bell rings] this...is jane. her long day on set starts with shoulder pain... ...and a choice take 6 tylenol in a day which is 2 aleve for... ...all day relief. hmm. [bell ring] "roll sound!" "action!" [ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ she can print amazing things, right from her computer. [ whirring ] [ train whistle blows ] she makes trains that are friends with trees.
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transferred money from his before larry instantly bank of america savings account to his merrill edge retirement account. before he opened his first hot chocolate stand calling winter an "underserved season". and before he quit his friend's leaf-raking business for "not offering a 401k." larry knew the importance of preparing for retirement. that's why when the time came he counted on merrill edge to streamline his investing and help him plan for the road ahead. that's the power of streamlined connections. that's merrill edge and bank of america. it is not often that you have a spit take moment when you're watching the news.
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when you see something or hear something on the news that literally makes you want to immediately discharge whatever it is that you were consuming at that moment. but you would be forgiven if you would have that particular reaction yesterday morning when secretary of state john kerry said this on cbs about russian president vladimir putin's decision to invade ukraine. watch. >> well, it's an incredible act of aggression. it is really a stunning, willful choice by president putin to invade another country. you just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext. >> you just don't in the 21st century invade another country on completely trumped-up pretext. okay, agreed. also, it's really, really hawkwahaw awkward to hear you say that.
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>> you just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion boy invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext. >> absolutely true and something on which the united states has absolutely no leg to stand on after we did exactly that same thing famously and on a much larger scale. russia has in fact invaded a part of ukraine on the completely trumped-up false pretext that there's some threat to russian speakers there, and russia is only protecting them. it's total bull pucky, total pretext. but there is an awkwardness about the united states government trying to lead a response to international outrage to that violation when we're only a couple of years out from our own near decade of war in iraq, which was a war that was also launched on a trumped-up false pretext. and every international crisis 2350e8z like the biggest international crisis. but everyone that we have had in the past few years, whether it
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was syria or libya or egypt or iran or ukraine now or even just the budget decisions we have to make about what size we want the u.s. military to be and what we want it to be designed to do, every crisis we face internationally, every big national security decision we make, all of these decisions are made and all of these crises are confronted in the shadow of the last ten years. we are a country that is really quite desperately weary of war after simultaneously fighting two of the longest protracted land wars and foreign occupations in american history, and we are newly and legitimately wary of what gets us into wars in the first place and we come by that wariness honestly. that wariness is earned. we earned it the hard way under the last presidency. last year we teamed up with nbc news investigative reporter michael isikoff and david corn from mother jones to produce a documentary called hubris,
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selling the iraq war. it was the most watched documentary on msnbc in the last decade. that documentary was based on their reporting and told the story of how the bush administration sold the war to the american people based on a pretext, based on evidence that in many cases was known inside the government to be false. that documentary, hubris, answered the question of how, how that war was sold to the american people. but there remains the question of why. what was behind that public case for war? if what they were telling us was false, why did they really think we needed to go to war? if the case made to the public was a false case, what was the true case? why did we really do it? for much of the last year we've been working really hard on trying to answer that question, and this week, this thursday night, we are going to present what we have found. thursday night at 9:00 eastern, we're going to premiere a brand new msnbc documentary called "why we did it." it's the result of months worth
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of reporting as well as interviews with a number of people directly involved in the war effort. here's a little piece of it. >> at the pentagon with just two months until the invasion, attention turns to who will run iraq in the immediate days and weeks after the fall of saddam. retired army lieutenant general jay garner, a man with deep experience in the region, gets the call from donald rumsfeld. >> he said what we need right now is somebody to come in, put a staff together and operationalize the plans we put together. you know, you think if you're going to put that together, you'd have office space and desk, computers, telephones and all that. i didn't even have a chair. >> inside the pentagon with just weeks to go until the invasion, planning for how to actually stabilize iraq. that planning had taken a back seat to something else entirely. something we are only now learning about a little more than a decade later. we can now not only explain what that was that was really going on, we can show it to you. the reporting and researching
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for this documentary is one of the more disturbing things i have ever worked on since i have been here at msnbc. honestly i think this is going to be upsetting to a lot of people when we air this documentary, but i also think that we have documented and found out some things that are really important. as the u.s. government considers our options and makes our case to the world in the middle of another international crisis right now, i feel a real sense of urgency that we've got to get this out there now, for the sake of clarity. for the sake of finally being honest for the first time about what really happened. thursday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern, that's the plan. i hope you will watch it and we will be right back. day 30. [ byron ] what do you guys think of the smell? fresh. i forgot we were in a taxi. this is a febreze vent clip. it's 30 days old. wow! no way. [ male announcer ] febreze keeps your car fresh for up to 30 days without fading. it's 30 days old. wow! no way. ♪ ♪
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i should probably take this. live the regular life. phillips'. you stand behind what you say. there's a saying around here, around here you don't make excuses. you make commitments. and when you can't live up to them, you own up, and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it when you know where to look.
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putin decides what he wants to do and he does it in half a day. right? he went -- he decided he had to go to their parliament. he went to their parliament, he got permission in 15 minutes. >> well, that was kind of like perfunctory. >> he makes a decision and he executes it. quickly. then everybody reacts. that's what you call a leader. president obama, he's got to think about it. he's got to go over it again, he's got to talk to more people about it. >> former republican presidential candidate rudy giuliani rallying around the flag at a time of conflict and crisis. to be clear, rallying around the russian flag, because apparently russia having its rubber stamp parliament okay an illegal invasion already in progress is the kind of leadership that the united states is sorely lacking. and, no, mr. giuliani is not alone on the right, and
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basically siding with putin? at least on style points, wishing allowed that we too had a shirtless president for life. the american political right has had a strange range of reactions to russia invading ukraine. we've got more of that ahead. stay with us. ♪ they lived. ♪ they lived. ♪ they lived. ♪ (dad) we lived... thanks to our subaru. ♪ (announcer) love. it's what makes a subaru,
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i also expressed my hope that russia will develop constructive relations with its neighbors, like georgia. they are trying to find their own way in a challenging but hopeful world. i looked the man in the eye, i found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. we had a very good dialogue. i was able to get a sense of his soul and that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship. i wouldn't have invited him to my ranch if i didn't trust him. >> that was then president george w. bush speaking in 2001 on the occasion of russian president vladimir putin coming to visit president bush at his home in crawford, texas. president bush doesn't live in crawford anymore and president putin is not married to the person who he brought to crawford, texas, with him
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anymore, but it is a reminder that the united states does turn over our leaders every four or every eight years. and it seems like vladimir putin just stays on and on and on from president to president to president. this is supposedly his last term as president that he's in right now, but who knows. we've thought that before as well. but again, the visit to the ranch in crawford, texas, that was 2001. in 2008 president putin sent russian troops to invade georgia, which had been part of the soviet union until 1991, but thereafter became an independent nation. there was a lot of consternation at the time. you might remember senator john mccain, who was then running for president, saying we are all georgians now. but very few people in american politics, very few, if any, let's just say no one in main treem american politics at the same time reacted to vladimir putin invading georgia by saying oh, if only george w. bush hadn't been such a weakling. if he hadn't been so simperring
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this wouldn't have happening. under george w. bush putin invades the state of georgia and american politicos get very worried about it but under president barack obama, putin invades the former soviet state of ukraine and american conservatives that their real disappointment, their real anger is not against putin or against russia, it's against president obama. >> i think putin is playing chess and i think we're playing marbles. and i don't think it's even close. they have been running circles around us. >> i think our policy towards russia during this administration deserves a heavy amount of criticism. >> every time the president goes on national television and threatens putin or anyone like putin, everybody's eyes roll, including mine. we have a weak and indecisive president that invites oppression. >> putin decides what he wants to do and he does it in half a day, right? he went -- he decided he had to go to their parliament. he went to their parliament, he
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got permission in 15 minutes. he makes a decision and he executes it, quickly. then everybody reacts. that's what you call a leader. >> that's what rudy giuliani calls a leader. these guys did not appear to feel this way under president george w. bush. particularly the last time that putin invaded another country, which was during the presidency of george w. bush. but since president obama has been in office, the american political right has been tongue bathing president putin on a fairly regular basis, even before now. >> putin really has been schooling our president of the united states on how to be a leader, hasn't he? >> putin is riding to president obama's rescue. >> russia is the player here. it is the big player, not the united states. i think frankly in the last week, vladimir putin has looked like a statesman. >> instead of a pariah, he's a statesman, he's a partner of peace and he can lecture the united states of america. >> if this was a tennis match it would be the umpire shouting advantage putin. >> that is how the right felt
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about vladimir putin's role in propping up the dictatorship of bashar al assad in syria. right now we're hearing some of the same love from the right on president putin invading crimea. honestly you don't get much of a sense that president obama much cares what the right thinks about him on issues like this but there are decisions that are going to have to be made in short order where that sentiment is going to be tested. first president obama called on congress to extend aid to ukraine, to the new embattled government of ukraine to give them essentially a nonrussian economic lifeline. house majority leader eric cantor today suggested that the house could move on at least some kind of aid package rather quickly. also, as the u.s. today cut off not only military relations but also all trade relations and investment talks with russia, is the obama administration going to have domestic opposition on this, particularly when u.s. corporations start squawking about it? or are they going to have political support for those measures in a bipartisan way?
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and will that matter? in the big picture, as president obama tries to wield maximum leverage against russia to try to get them to stop what they're doing in ukraine, will the reflexive criticism of president obama at home by his domestic political enemies, even the praise of vladimir putin by some american politicians, will that have any effect on america's ability to lead on this issue on the international stage? does it affect our international image and our international capabilities? and does russia care so much more about its immediate geographic neighborhood that they don't much care about whatever the west can wield against them anyway, no matter what we do. joining me now is fiona hill, currently the director of the center on the united states and europe at the brookings institution. miss hill, thank you for being with us tonight. i appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. >> i'm not going to ask you to weigh in on american politicians fighting with each other on this, but should we be looking at russia's actions towards
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georgia as an instructive parallel here? do you see any similar dynamics at work? >> there are lots of similar dynamics and i have to say the bush administration did come under a lot of chris criticism for the handling of georgia and that was in large part because limited things at our disposal to try to change russian behavior. the issue of military response was off the table. the united states started to think about sanctions, they started to think about other things and they could do visa suspensions, targeting the assets of russian individuals, you know, separating off deals that had already been made with russian companies, and there was an awful lot of very strong rhetoric coming out. as you have pointed out yourself, out of congress. senator mccain, many other people making very strong statements, and it didn't have any impact whatsoever on changing the russian decision-making on the ground, so there's one parallel.
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also, it's really the sequence of events of the russian government perceiving a threat to russian speakers, to russian citizens on the ground, seeing a pretext there in terms of georgian action against people who were basically threatening georgian interests and then the russians moving in, in defense of their interests and of their compatriots or citizens on the ground. so we're in a very similar situation here. the one big difference is that they were part of the republic of georgia and were always part of that territory. what we're talking about here about crimea where it does seem that the russians are at least laying the groundwork for some kind of legal case to suggest that perhaps crimea could at some juncture become part of the russian federation again so there really is a distinction there. but we've been there before. we've been there before with vladimir putin and frankly have been in very similar situations in the past as you've just laid
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out since the 1990s on a great deal of trouble over crimea, over ukraine, over the disposition of many of the states that have emerged after the soviet union. >> in terms of the motivations here on the russian side, if the russian federation does decide to stay in crimea on a permanent basis and, as you say, maybe even make a case for annexing crimea the gift kruschev made do you think that means they wouldn't have designs on a broader push into eastern ukraine? do you think this is a contained threat within crimea specifically? >> i don't think it's a contained threat right now at all. i do think russia intends to stay put in crimea just as it has in many other similar situations around the russian periphery. there's a great deal of interest in crimea for all the reasons you've laid out but they have given themselves a degree of possibility putin got approval
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from the russian federation council in fact to take action elsewhere in the territory of ukraine. so right now there really is a real risk that the russians may deem it necessary to protect interests in other places. we've got an idea right now that that might be in some of the cities in eastern ukraine, where again there is a large compact population of russian speakers and people who at least can be deemed to have some kind of preference for staying in close association with russia. so i don't think we're out of the woods yet. i think we're going to be playing with this issue, there's going to be lots more spots, a lot more pressure put on president obama to basically step up and meet vladimir putin head on. we're going to be in this for quite a long time. putin means business. he's got vested interests here, a long history in this region and there's been a lot of pressure for some time inside russia itself, the russian parliament and many people within russia for moscow itself to take more concerted action.
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>> sobering. very sobering take on that. fiona hill, former intelligence officer at the national intelligence council, now at the brookings institution. thank you very much for your time tonight. lots more ahead, stay with us. "feed us -- we've awakened from our long winter's nap and we're peckish to the point of starvin'"!! i don't understand... your grass, man! it's a living, breathing thing. it's hungry, and you've got to feed it with scotts turf builder. that a boy, mikey! two feedings now...in the springtime strengthens and helps protect your lawn from future problems. [ scott ] get scotts turf builder lawn food. it's guaranteed. feed your lawn. feed it! it's guaranteed. so our business can be on at&t's network for $175 a month? yup. all 5 of you for $175. our clients need a lot of attention. there's unlimited talk and text. we're working deals all day. you get 10 gigabytes of data to share. what about expansion potential? add a line, anytime, for $15 a month. low dues, great terms. let's close!
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here's a puzzle. "the new york times" today quoted angela merkel as saying
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that she thinks the president of russia has lost it. according to the "times" after angela merkel talked to vladimir putin on the phone last night, she called president obama and told him that she was not not s that mr. putin was, as the "times" put it, in touch with reality. she said vladimir putin was "in another world." but here's the puzzle. at the same time germany is also the eu nation that so far is the one saying no to the idea of moving against president "in another world" by kicking russia out of the g8. so on the other hand germany says put zinn wrongfully invading another country and when you talk to him right now he sounds [ whistling ] but on the other hand saying he should definitely keep a spot in the g8 in that elite economic group. they say russia is behaving abominably and their president is a crazy man right now but don't take this step to isolate them economically. why not? russia is number two, second only to saudi arabia in the
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amount of crude oil that they export. and a lot of these crude oil exports go to europe. the european union relies on russia for 30% of their oil. similar story with natural gas. russia second only to the united states in terms of natural gas production. and europe, again, gets a third of their natural gas from russian supplies. and until 2011 the main way russia got its natural gas into europe was specifically through ukraine. they got a series of pipelines all over ukraine that carry russian gas into europe. in 2011 russia did build an alternate route, a pipeline that goes under the baltic sea. that one takes gas directly from russia into germany. as the u.s. tries to organize international condemnation and consequences for russia's behavior here, is it possible that europe specifically is so dependent on russia for its daily energy consumption that there's only so far they will ever be willing to push against russia no matter what russia does? so far they've been willing to
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say they will cancel a summit that was due to be held in russia and they're all saying more or less derogatory things about vladimir putin and his recent actions but not much more. can europe do more? are their hands tied by their dependence on russia in economic terms? can europe go further without hurting themselves? joining us now is p.j. crowley. he's a former assistant secretary of state for public affairs, currently a fellow at the george washington university institute for public diplomacy and global communication. mr. crowley, thank you very much for being here. >> always a pleasure, rachel. >> is there a limit on how hard the eu and the u.s. will push russia on this or any other issue? >> i think there's a style difference. europe prefers coordination, consultation, you know, convincing argument as opposed to confrontation. and obviously at 28 it's difficult to get consensus within the european union on decisive action. and as you say, some countries
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have a more developed economic relationship with russia than others. germany certainly at the forefront. >> in terms of the susceptibility of mr. putin and the russian government more broadly to pressure from the west, if there isn't going to be a military response from the west, if it is going to be economic and diplomatic pressure, where are they most sensitive? >> i think there's some talk about isolating the russian banking sector. that would -- that would profoundly affect the oligarchs within russia who are trying to turn russia into an economic power. so there might be some leverage there. i know, you know, my former boss, hillary clinton, used to say you don't get into an argument with your banker. i think in the context of germany they would say you don't get into an argument with your utility company. so i think there may be some opportunities on the financial side but crossing over into the energy side, you know, putin's energy card may not be as potent as it once was. there's a far more global and diversified energy market out
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there. but germany in particular does depend heavily, 30% of its gas imports come from russia. >> would it be important to the russians if the g-7 considered -- well, if the g8 considered becoming the g-7 again? if they considered ejecting russia from that international body? >> i think in the context of angela merkel she's one of the european leaders if not the european leader that has the ability to talk to putin. i think she's trying to potentially have -- be a channel to try to talk putin down from the ledge that he finds himself on. so that may be one tactic, where she's -- you know, she's looking at perhaps, you know, canceling the g8 meeting but not at this point make the g8 into a g7. >> do you sense that in the end putin will ever deal with the new government in ukraine? is he actually looking to reinstall yanukovych? >> well, for the moment russia
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recognizes yanukovych, does not recognize the interim government. i think we'll have to look at the fortunes of yulia tymoshenko and see whether given this crisis -- she's got her own set of issues from the past. at least recently the maidan protesters were very suspicious of any ukrainian politician. but now given the russian power play, tymoshenko's stock may be rising. she's one leader that's dealt with russia effectively and may be a leader as president that putin might be comfortable being able to have a real conversation with. >> fascinating stuff. p.j. crowley, former assistant secretary of state for public affairs, fellow now george washington university. thank you, p.j. it's nice to have you here. >> thanks, rauch'll. >> thank you. we'll be right back. stay with us. [ woman ] i will embrace change...
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russian officials in recent days, there is nothing that justifies russian conduct. what is happening today is a dangerous military intervention in ukraine. it is an act of aggression. it must stop. russia has every right to wish that events in ukraine had turned out differently. but it does not have the right to express that unhappiness by using military force. >> that was the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, samantha power, denouncing russia's military action in ukraine during an emergency u.n. security council meeting earlier today. that's the third emergency u.n. security council meeting since friday. secretary of state john kerry is on his way tonight to ukraine. he's on his way to kiev. tonight president obama has been holding high-level meetings with his national security team on the issue. earlier today reports surfaced that russia's black sea fleet commander, bassed in crimea, issued an ultimatum to the ukrainian military in crimea, threatening a full-on assault if they didn't surrender or change
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allegiances by 5:00 a.m. local time. the russians are denying that this threat happened in crimea, but local reporters at the scene say they did hear these threats on the loudspeakers from a russian ship. she say it was real if you heard it in real time. well, despite the russian denials, if that threat was real, and if the russians are planning on following through with it, i should note that the deadline of 5:00 a.m. local time that was issued by loudspeaker on that ship today, that would be right now, 10:00 p.m. eastern time here in the united states. all eyes on the black sea. watch this space. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. thanks for being with us tonight. when may i shoot a student? that's the question a college professor asked in a "new york times" op-ed last week now that the legislature in his state wants to allow college students on campus to have guns. and republicans have always blamed russian invasions on russian leaders.

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